“The US violated Iraq’s sovereignty, dominance, and laws by assassinating Martyrs Qassem Soleimani and Abu Mahdi Muhandis. We insist that the case should reach a deserving conclusion as soon as possible with Iran and Iraq’s cooperation,” Ebrahim Raeisi said on Tuesday in the Iraqi capital during a meeting with Iraq’s Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi.
Last January, the United States used a drone strike to assassinate General Soleimani, the commander of the Quds Force of Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC), and Abu al-Muhandis, the second-in-command of Iraq’s Hashd al-Sha’abi or Popular Mobilization Units (PMU) counter-terrorism force, near the Baghdad International Airport. The assault that also led to the martyrdom of the commanders’ companions came while General Soleimani was paying an official visit to the Iraqi capital.
The commanders have amassed regionwide popular appeal due to their effective contribution to Baghdad’s defeating Daesh in late 2017. The Takfiri terror group had emerged in Iraq in 2014 amid the chaos and ethnic violence that had resulted from US-led military invasion.
The atrocities that was ensued by thousands-strong funeral processions and protest rallies in Iraq have heightened the anti-American sentiment among the Arab nation against continued military intervention there by the US and its allies.
The Iranian official, who was in Iraq in his first foreign trip in his capacity as the Islamic Republic’s senior judicial official, paid a visit during his trip to the site of the attack.
He said due punishment of the perpetrators and others, who provided criminal contribution to the atrocities, would preempt potential repeat of such atrocities in the future.
The Iraqi parliament passed a law soon after the barbaric attack, ordering expulsion of all US-led forces from the Arab country’s soil. Raeisi hailed the decision for the expulsion, noting that implementation of the parliamentary law required a relevant timetable.
‘A purely Iraqi decision’
The Iraqi premier, for his part, called the law ordering the expulsion of the Americans “a purely Iraqi decision.”
Baghdad was pursuing the case of the assassinations, he said, adding that some legal verdicts had already been issued in the country in this regard.
Last month, a court in the Iraqi capital issued an arrest warrant for former US president Donald Trump — who directly ordered the assassinations — as part of its investigation into the targeted killings.
Raeisi said his choosing Iraq as his first foreign destination in his capacity as Iran’s Judiciary chief reflected the importance of the countries’ bilateral ties. Kadhimi expressed delight over the visit, reminding that the countries’ relations were based on numerous instances of commonality and adding that Baghdad was “wholeheartedly and insistently” pursuing development of the ties.
“Since assuming the post of the prime minister, I have been trying to expand the relations on all levels in line with the nations’ interests,” he noted.